About a week or so ago we used this space to suggest No. 12 St. John’s Prep should not be dismissed from the post-season picture despite a 5-8-1 record at the time.
It would have been a logical reaction to a three-game losing streak that included an uncharacteristic 7-0 Catholic Conference loss to No. 9 Xaverian on Jan. 25 as well as league defeats at the hands of No. 3 Catholic Memorial and No. 2 Malden Catholic.
Yet here the Eagles stand at 7-8-2 following wins against No. 5 Austin Prep (2-0) and No. 8 Arlington Catholic (3-2) and last night’s 4-4 tie against No. 10 St. John’s of Shrewsbury.
Coach Kris Hanson’s squad now needs four points with three games remaining to qualify for tournament play. While not an easy task with home dates against No. 4 Springfield Cathedral this Saturday (Ristuccia, noon) and next Wednesday against No. 11 Winchester (Ristuccia, 8 p.m.), it is attainable. St. John’s closes the regular season against a one-win Wakefield squad.
Following last Saturday’s stirring comeback win against AC, Hanson spoke about the Eagles’ spunk, team growth and strength of schedule. Five of SJP’s seven Catholic Conference losses were by two goals or less.
“I think it’s a combination of all of those things. This team has certainly grown and matured and our strength of schedule is also a factor. We didn’t win a game in our league (0-7-1) but we’re beating the best teams from other leagues. It’s the toughest league in the state,” he said.
That grit showed last night when SJP came from behind four times to forge the tie with SJS. Ryan Byrne’s power play goal tied it for the final time with 8:39 to play. Nick Latham (2 goals, 2 assists) and Jimmy Currier (goal, 2 assists) had big nights for the Eagles.
Meanwhile, Garrett Lehan, Chris Stalmok, Jared Wetherbee and Chris Adams gave SJS four one-goal leads.
– No. 1 B.C. High (12-1-3) wrapped up the Catholic Conference championship with a decisive 5-0 shutout of No. 3 Catholic
Memorial (9-4-1), which is on an 0-3-1 skid. Senior captain Steve DeForge had a goal and an assist while junior Patrick Kramer added a goal and an assist. Sam Topham, Chris LaLiberte and Connor Noonan also scored in support of Brandon Payzant’s fifth shutout.
– Archbishop Williams (10-5-2) added a significant accomplishment to its resume for Div. 1A consideration with a 4-2 win against No. 6 St. Mary’s (13-5-2), spoiling the Spartans’ Senior Night. Mike Sorenti, Ryan Dunn, Colin Boyle and Dylan O’Brien had the goals for the Bishops. Jackson Allard and Dante Maribito scored for St. Mary’s, which lost for just the second time in 16 games.
– No. 5 Austin Prep (11-3-4) blasted Bishop Fenwick, 14-0, to clinch the Catholic Central Large championship.
– The Middlesex Liberty Division championship remains in play after Reading (11-8-2) knocked off Winchester (9-4-5), 6-3.
– No. 17 Wilmington (9-3-7) handed D-3 No. 1 Watertown (12-2-4) just its second loss of the season, 4-0, behind Drew
Foley’s 20-save shutout. Watertown continues to lead the Middlesex Freedom.
– Chelmsford (8-5-5) qualified for the tournament by tripping No. 14 Melrose (11-4-4) in non-league action behind two Derek Adamson goals.
– No. 16 Arlington (11-3-4) got a game-winning empty net goal from Jack Kelly (2 goals) to trip up Woburn, 2-1. The Tanners needed to win to sustain their tourney hopes.
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